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COVID-19 spike in B.C. could overwhelm local hospitals, says modelling group

Last Updated Apr 15, 2021 at 6:48 am PDT

FILE -- Specimens to be tested for COVID-19 are seen at a lab, in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday, March 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

More rigorous restrictions are needed to cut transmission of COVID-19, says independent modelling group

B.C. COVID 19 Modelling Group projects cases of variants of concern to rise to nearly 2,000 a day by late April

B.C.'s top doctor set to release latest COVID-19 modelling data on Thursday

VANCOUVER – An independent COVID-19 modelling group says hospitalizations from COVID-19 are projected to overwhelm hospital capacity in British Columbia by May, unless we cut the rate of transmission now.

Sarah Otto, a UBC professor and a member of the group, says data show this situation has been “building up like a smouldering fire” starting to take flame.

“We can measures how much and how fast it was growing then and say pretty concretely that relative to that growth, we have to decrease it’s ability to jump from person to person by 40 per cent [compared to March],” she said.

She has previously warned that the province is under-reporting its COVID-19 variants.

The B.C. COVID 19 Modelling Group projects cases of variants of concern to rise to nearly 2,000 a day by late April.

Otto says this isn’t the COVID we know from last year.

“These new variants are three to five times more likely to land my friends in hospital if I’m walking around with a case,” she said.

On Wednesday, B.C. reported its highest number of hospitalizations related to COVID-19 to date.

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B.C.’s top doctor and health minister both urged people to continue following health guidelines to help slow transmission.

“Always using our layers of protection, combined with getting one of the safe and highly effective vaccines as soon as you are eligible, is the best way to stop the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. Let’s continue to do our part so we can all put COVID-19 behind us,” a statement from Wednesday read.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry is set to release the latest COVID-19 modelling data on Thursday.